Data Retention Bill received Royal Assent

The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015 (Cth) received royal assent on 13 April 2015. This means that the data retention obligations for service providers under the Act commence on 13 October 2015.

Our client alert on the new law can be found here and a copy of the new Act here.

Industry Code to Help Combat Online Piracy Lodged with ACMA for Registration

The draft industry code of practice designed to reduce online copyright infringement in Australia, (the Copyright Notice Scheme Code 2015) has been submitted to ACMA for registration. The Code is published by Communications Alliance. Our client alert outlining the draft Code can be found here.

Recent amendments to the Code include removing the requirement that internet users pay a $25 fee in order to challenge infringement notices and obtain an independent review. There will also now be a higher representation of consumers on the Copyright Information Panel to oversee the implementation of the Code's notice scheme.

The Code would apply to approximately the largest 70 Australian ISPs. If registered, the effectiveness of the Code would be independently evaluated 18 months after its commencement.

The Communications Alliance's media release on the Code can be found here and the Code here.

A related media release noting ACCAN's concerns with the Code's consumer safeguards' following the Dallas Buyers Club Federal Court decision can be found here.

ACMA Proposal to set numbering charges

ACMA is seeking comment on a proposal to set the charges for the allocation of numbers and the registration charges for new users of the numbering system. ACMA is proposing that there be a flat charge of $19.50 (per number or registration), which is less than the current amount charged. ACMA is also proposing that there be an additional one-off registration charge on new users of the numbering system. All existing users will be migrated and no charge will be payable.

The new charges are proposed to apply from 1 August 2015.

The closing date for submissions is 8 May 2015.

The media release and consultation paper and Draft Determinations can be found here.

Latest reduction in red tape laws passed

As part of the Federal Government's reduction in red tape agenda, the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Deregulation) Act 2015 has passed Parliament and received Royal Assent on 13 April 2015.

As noted in the December 2014 Telecommunications Regulatory Update, the Act streamlines the delivery of public interest telecommunications services and addresses a range of matters. It:

  • repeals some of Part 13 of the Telecommunications Act 1997(Cth) to remove some record-keeping and reporting obligations imposed on telecommunications providers in relation to authorised disclosures of information or documents;
  • amends section 17 of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (Cth) making the registration period for numbers on the Do Not Call Register an indefinite period;
  • modernises publishing requirements in the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999, including to streamline notice requirements to improve the operation of the Customer Service Guarantee;
  • amends provisions to relax pre-selection obligations on telecommunications providers;
  • repeals provisions in Part 6 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) in respect of the making of e-marketing industry codes; and
  • transfers the functions of the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency to the Department of Communications. Some consequential changes take effect later this year.

The Act as passed can be found here.

Numbers on Do Not Call Register now permanent

Effective 27 April 2015 and pursuant to the above Act, registrations of numbers on the Australian Government's Do Not Call Register are permanent. This means that the numbers currently on the Register will never need to be re-registered (previously required every 8 years) and new registrations of numbers of anyone wanting to opt out of unsolicited telemarketing calls will also be valid permanently.

Australian mobile, landline and fax numbers used primarily for private or domestic purposes are eligible to be registered.

ACMA's media release can be found here and the register at www.donotcall.gov.au.